Voice apps for celebrities / artists / influencers



Yesterday @jan and I tested “Lang Lang’s Musical Journey” Alexa Skill, and instead of investigating the various merits of this amazing Skill here, I’d love to discuss the broader issue of how celebrities and influencers can use voice apps to promote their personal brand.

Of course this topic is related to the very broad question of how brands in general can reach and provide value to their audience, but I think it’s enough of a special case to deserve an own thread.

Let’s start by looking which value some great celebrity-based voice apps provide, and then see what we can induce from there.

:us: Lang Lang’s Musical Journey by UMG

If you’ve seen the #TestingTuesday episode, you know what it’s about and in how far it’s great. These are the highlights:

  • The influencer ‘personally’ interacts with the user by welcoming them to the Skill and helping them navigate the Skill
  • The user gets to consume the main content of the artist, in this case Lang Lang’s piano music
  • The user gets a lot of valuable bonus content: The artist’s thoughts about the piece, tips on how to play it on the piano, and background info of the piece itself (Personally, I think this is where this Skill absolutely dominates!)
  • The content is regularly updated, in this case every week

:de: Frag den Forster by Amazon Music DE

@jan and I regularly mention this one in #TestingTuesday, and I couldn’t find an equivalent US example. So, what the Skill does is to simulate an interview of single-turn questions and answers, where famous German musician Mark Forster answers the questions and Alexa is the moderator (“What else do you want to ask Mark?”). The Skill has some weaknesses that become apparent in the reviews, e.g. you have to be very precise with your question and it’s exact wording, otherwise you’ll get a fallback message (“I’d rather not answer that one.”) - But this is the flip side of the Skill actually providing a huge amount of content (this official artist page on Amazon actually contains a cheat sheet of all the questions you can ask).
So, what’s great about this Skill:

  • The user can get a feeling of actual interaction with the artist
  • The user gets in-depth bonus content (the questions are super-specific, like “Do you use Tinder?” or “Which sound are you most afraid of?”)
  • The user is encouraged to visit the artist’s page to find more questions to ask

:us: Voice First Champion by Mark Tucker via Witlingo

This is the Skill of @marktucker, an influencer and celebrity of the voice community (and this forum in particular! :heart_eyes:). The Skill directly provides pieces of recorded content from Mark without much navigation, but after each piece you can either upvote it or listen to the next one. The Skill actually comes with a flash briefing that distributes the same content.
Both of these Skills were produced using Castlingo by Witlingo, a platform that allows artists to record content directly with their mobile phone and to upload it into the Skill, which allows for a very authentic and spontaneous experience.
So, what’s great about this Skill:

  • The user can consume bonus content that was exclusively produced for this channel
  • The user can explore the archive of previously recorded content
  • The platform makes it easy to create particulary spontaneous and authentic content

:us: Bublé Daily by Michael Bublé

Michael Bublé is a well-known singer, songwriter, actor and record producer (Thanks Google!), and with this Skill you can get personal quotes from him on various topics, apparently. There’s only one (relatively short) piece of content per day, which severly limits the user’s degree of exploration and engagement, so let’s summarize what’s good about this fact Skill and move on:

  • The user can access bonus content produced exclusively (?) for this channel, with new content every day

:us: Sowing Seed Flash Briefing by Matt Miller

I don’t know Matt Miller and would be interested to know of you do, but as a matter of fact he provides one of the top-rated Flash Briefings in the US Skill store. The Flash Briefing is actually an interface for his podcast of the same name, and every day you get a random (?) episode in your daily update.
As a voice app, this is not deeply impressive, but here’s what I think of as its most notable feature:

  • The user has an easy way to integrate the consumption of the influencer’s main content into their daily routine

So, after having investigated these great voice apps, what do you think are the particularly relevant features for a voice app through which artists want to connect to their audience? Which examples of great voice apps are you aware of, and what do you like about them?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! :smiley:


:us: Mass Shooting Tracker by Mark Tucker via Shazaml Design LLC

Daily tracking of the hundreds of mass shootings in the U.S. each year.
This briefing tracks a mass shooting as an incident where four or more people are shot in a single shooting spree. This may include the gunman himself, or police shootings of civilians around the gunman.

The data is crowd sourced and available at: https://www.massshootingtracker.org/

I created this flash briefing as a way for people to be reminded of the tragedy of gun violence and be better informed citizens.


Thanks for joining the discussion, @marktucker! :smiley:

Sounds like a Skill with a great cause! I how far would you say it’s relevant for the question of how artists and influencers can use voice apps to promote their personal brand? My impression is that a Skill like this is the reverse: An influencer (you, in this case) using their reach to promote a worthy cause. Or is the implication that it’s like content marketing, where the dedication to a good cause reflects positively back on the influencer and increases their popularity?


Some influencers may choose causes to support because it helps their “brand” but I think the vast majority of people (influencers or not) support causes that they believe in or feel need extra recognition and just want to share.

I’m just an average guy somewhere in the middle on the pro-gun/anti-gun spectrum. I saw content that could benefit from voice technology and made it happen.

@Florian, thanks for your kind words about me being an “influencer and celebrity of the voice community”. Truly humbled. Just trying to make a difference in the world where I can.


Also wanted to point out that organizations (especially non-profits) can be influencers and share their message with voice apps. For non-profits, their mission and brand can be the same thing.

Two other examples that I have been involved with are:


One other use case I can easily imagine is e-sports. A popular influencer or competitive player of Fortnite (Ninja comes to my mind, but there are certainly others) would have both great authority and marketing surface for building ‘soft’ (i.e. not account-linked) companion voice apps for their respective games - Similar to the ones we tested a while back, but better, with features like the ones discussed above:

  • News on both their game (seasonal events in Fortnite) and their content (e.g. new Youtube video uploaded, new live stream upcoming)
  • Queryable hints on the game (e.g. ‘give me a tip about Tilted Towers’)
  • Additional bonus content (like answers to general questions similar to the Mark Forster example above)

Thinking about it, this use case is so obvious that it makes me wonder that it hasn’t been done. Any ideas why, anyone?


@AlexSwe and I have been thinking about this some time ago, a “Snapchat” for voice where people could record messages. I think Castlingo definitely goes into the right direction there.

If you compare a flash briefing or custom voice app to an Instagram story (I have more experience with Instagram than Snapchat) though, it lacks a few features that draws people towards Instagram:

  • Interactive: On Instagram, people can easily reply to a story and start conversations
  • Measurable: You can see how many (and who) watched your stories, and optimize for this
  • Multimodal: On Instagram, you can see and hear (although many influencers there now default to subtitles to make the content easier to skim, which brings me to my next point:
  • Skippable: Many people just tap (= skip) through Instagram stories to see if something catches their eyes. A linear medium like voice makes it difficult to skim content

The question is: Where can voice be better than Instagram?